When it comes to reviews, Dan normally does all the work, but as I am not only a massive Superman fan, but have gone through pretty much every emotion there is from the announcement of this film, I asked if I could write this one. So, is this the superhero smackdown we all hoped for?
In the wake of General Zod’s attack on Metropolis, Superman is viewed with fear and mistrust. Both Metropolis’ unstable genius Lex Luthor and Gotham City’s vigilante Batman, set their sites on taking him down. Meanwhile, Clark Kent of the Daily Planet is on a mission to expose Gotham’s brutal vigilante.
It is finally here, the big screen showdown. Batman v Superman, The Dark Knight v The Man of Steel, The Caped Crusader v The Last Son of Krypton, surely the cinematic battle to end all others? Sadly no, what we have here is a stodgy, over long, CGI filled mess, that is so somber and dull that it may just have put another nail in DC’s cinematic coffin.
That might sound overly dramatic and while there are some great performances and some equally great moments, this bloated movie fails to live up to the sum of its parts. The film opens as we meet our new Batman. Following yet another re-run of the death of his parents (nice cameo from Jeffery Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne), we then have a replay of the Man of Steel finale, as Bruce Wayne futilely races through a crumbling Metropolis to save his employees from the fallout of the Superman v Zod battle, his loss fuels his hatred for The Man of Steel and ignites his desire to destroy him. Then comes Lex Luthor, a twitchy eccentric billionaire who has his own agenda. Meanwhile Superman still trying to find his place in the world as everyone seems to be turning against him.
For anyone who thought that Man of Steel was somber and gloomy, the introduction of a tortured and bitter Bruce Wayne does nothing to lighten the mood here. Batman and Superman are two sides of the same coin. Batman lives and thrives in the shadows and Superman is a beacon of hope that lives in the light, but Superman is so wracked with self doubt and Batman so bitter and twisted it is hard to root for either one. You might be able to live with all of that it it wasn’t for the films two major failings; the story, it is muddled and makes no real sense and by the time to get to the showdown (which you are made to wait for) you will have looked at your watch more than once and then there is the over dependence on CGI, the climatic battle with Doomsday, while thrilling in places, is just too much.
The films subtitle suggests a lead in to a future Justice League film, but a few laptop shots aside, only Wonder Woman is featured in any detail. They are trying to do in 161 minutes, something that took Marvel half a decade to accomplish (with far better results). Wonder Woman’s role here seems tacked on, while the scenes with her as Diana Prince are great, her appearance as Wonder Woman could have waited until a later film.
It is not all bad, Ben Affleck is great, he underplays the role perfectly and proves all his naysayers wrong. He is not only a great Batman but brings a real maturity and depth to Bruce Wayne that in my opinion makes this the best portrayal of Bruce to date, not to mention he looks cool in the array of Bat suits. The sub-plot with the brilliant Scoot McNairy’s embittered Wayne employee springs a surprise and we actually get to see Clark Kent doing some reporting, which is something that is lacking in any Superman film. The cast beyond that are pretty much spot on. Amy Adams is a brilliant Lois Lane and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred is perfect, here, he is involved in all elements of Batman’s mission, he is a partner as well as his conscience. Only Jesse Eisenberg fails to hit home, his Lex Luthor is twitchy and campy and would not have been out of place in a Joel Schumacher film.
This is a missed opportunity on every level, dull, over long and CGI ladened, a few one liners wouldn’t have gone amiss either. If Justice League is to continue and DC have any hope in emulating the success of the other guys, then a change behind the camera and a clear out of the writer’s room is needed. A big disappointment.
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.